Sunday, November 3, 2013


There is a very nice man in a wheelchair usually on Madison near 59th. He greets people with the biggest smile, he gets to know you, “How’s your sister?”  He sells papers and there’s a cup in his lap.  We’ve spoken for years and I’ve never put a dime in it. I prefer to have a conversation and buy a paper. I know he does too.
            “Hey, golden girls,” a guy sitting on a sidewalk yelled at my friends and me one afternoon. “Y’all look good for your age.” He had decided that we were looking good for our ages that he did not know.  It didn’t matter that he looked horrible.  He was rude and he knew it as he tried to walk back from his comment. We agreed he needed to sharpen his game if he wanted a full cup. Not everyone in need is like that.
            Sometimes giving is organic and before you know it you’re digging for coins. Don’t just throw it into the cup and keep on walking. Make eye contact and acknowledge their gratefulness. Most express thankfulness more than those who don’t need a dime. Give unconditionally, no need to tell them how you think they should spend it. And whatever you do, don’t give out of pity, to do that is to look down on someone.  I’ve seen people send their children over to give, personally, something about that bothers me. I think it’s grown up’s work or at least someone of an age who understands the act of giving.
            There are a whole lot of people asking these days for what you have. If you choose to give, think about how you would like to receive from a perfect stranger.


1 comment:

Cheryl G. said...

I have a feeling that either people give it no thought, or too much thought, which might explain some of those awkward gestures of kindness.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!